ICSA PROTESTS THE FORCED SALE OF LANDS BY ONLINE PROPERTY TRADING PLATFORMS

26 NOVEMBER 2018

ICSA today (26 Nov) mounted a protest at the Dublin offices of online property trading platform BidX1 in opposition to the forced sale of lands. Speaking at the protest ICSA rural development chairman Seamus Sherlock said, “The farming community must stand together and send a clear message to vulture funds, and those who collaborate with them, that any attempt to sell distressed farmland will be met with community resistance.”

Continuing Mr Sherlock said, “Online property trading platforms don’t tell the full story. What you’re viewing is a product of the mistreatment of customers by banks initially and then by vulture funds. We have a situation whereby mainstream banks are continuing to sell off loans at an alarming rate, so we have an ever increasing number of families who find themselves having to deal with vulture funds with no choice in the matter.”

“We are encouraged by the statement from BidX1 that they have, for the time being, removed contentious lots from their site in advance to today’s protest. However, for that move to be viewed as anything more than a temporary knee jerk reaction, it needs to become a permanent policy.”

“We know that farms have been and will continue to be included in portfolio sales of loans. We also know that these loans are usually secured by land deeds exceeding the value of the loan, making the prospect of a quick sale more attractive than negotiating a reasonable solution with borrowers.”

“We want BidX1, and all other such platforms, to be much more careful about putting land up for sale where it’s still possible for a compromise to be found and a deal concluded. At ICSA we want to see more mediation and less confrontation. We believe that a reasonable negotiated settlement should always be considered the best option for everyone involved. We will continue to press for more regulation of the processes by which these loans are sold off in the first place and managed thereafter.”

Concluding, Mr Sherlock said “It’s not easy dealing with new loan masters whose only interest is to profit from your distress but together we can make a difference and stand our ground. ICSA strongly believes in supporting family farms and will endeavour to assist anyone facing difficulties.”

ENDS